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Sunday, June 19, 2011

First Father's Day without Dad

Dad always grew a nice crop of full-size and cherry tomatoes in Dumont.
Photo by jacki-dee,

Surprisingly, I felt....nothing. No tears. That's not like me. I don't know why I didn't cry.

Could be because I've had other big fish to fry.

Sometimes, the only way to get through it is to get through it.

But Dad, I do miss you. It felt very strange to be in the card aisle at CVS and only looking at the husband or hubby tabs, not the dad or grandpa ones. I really don't have a handle on where you are, where you went, and that's what preoccupies me the most.

I always loved to ask you stories about your own father, and I hold those close to my heart. I never heard you say anything bad about him. [Well, except that either he or your mother made you kill the backyard bunny rabbit you had cared for and befriended, so the family could have it for dinner. That upset you so much. You were just a boy. But it was the Depression, after all, so I guess they needed meat. And your mother grew up on a farm in Italy, where they ate what they had to eat.] You said he'd peel an apple after dinner with you--that sounds so simple and good and somehow homespun, like telling a story as the peel comes off in a long ribbon. You said he was a man of few words; that reminds me of Will. That he made wine in the basement. He was calm and kind. I like that he was an elevator man. You said he would come home around Christmastime and open his jacket to proudly reveal all the tips inside. I like that he knew Sis as a baby and called her Chunky. But he died before Will or I were born.

Good night, Dad. I love you and miss you.

  1. Made Father's Day whole-wheat buttermilk waffles with fresh berries for H. and enjoyed it--so did Figgy and two friends [who slept over] and one of their moms. I like creating in the kitchen.
  2. Mass--though it, or I, somehow felt kind of hollow today.
  3. Walked Sug around block once, and on long walk up to Iris Gardens.
  4. Cleaned my office--sorted and threw stuff out again--for hours while H. and Fig worked on reseeding lawn and setting up new gardens. The sooner I am organized, the sooner I can create challenging, focused new work in a room of my own.


  1. Hi, Al. Glad you got through the day. It could have been very tough. I also remember my dad talking about the nightly apple that his father peeled and shared. My dad usually added to the story that our grandfather considered the hardness of the apple to be sufficient daily oral hygiene. At this point in the telling, my mother would exclaim disgust from whatever corner of the room that she was in (preemptive, I think, so as not to allow us children to even think we could get away with not brushing our teeth). Just another take on the apple a day tale. Also, he must have had nicknames for all of us – I didn’t know Sis was called “Chunky.” My parents told me that his name for me was “Marble Legs.” Wonder what he called JJ. Have a good day. Love, Lin P.S. Hope Dan had a nice father’s Day.

  2. Hi Lin. I think it was Chunky. I better double-check. Marble Legs! Rosie used to say she'd make a lasagna out of me--you too? I wonder what he did call JJ. I would love to know, and would love to have met him and sat down with him--even more so now. love, alice